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Topics - pocock

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Does anybody know about support for Firefox WebAssembly (WASM) on ppc64le?

Some web sites like Zoom don't work without it.

Since March, it looks like Jitsi Meet may require WebAssembly too

Is WASM available in any recent version of Firefox?  Can it be enabled if I rebuild Firefox from source?


I took the download of Eclipse for ppc64el and tried it on my system.

It crashes at startup, I opened a bug report with full details, download link, stack trace

Does it work for anybody else?

To test it:

Code: [Select]
mkdir ~/eclipse-test
cd ~/eclipse-test
wget ''
tar xzf eclipse-SDK-4.19-linux-gtk-ppc64le.tar.gz


It looks like retailers are building combined Ryzen + RX 6800 XT systems with OEM parts and you have to buy the whole system instead of buying the GPU alone.

Has anybody else noticed this trend or been able to get the GPU standalone for a POWER9 system?

Applications and Porting / Zoom - errors about audio, video not supported
« on: February 16, 2021, 04:21:51 pm »

Zoom has test site at

It always gives an error "Your browser does not support using the computer's audio device"

Looking at the JavaScript web console, there are some messages like this

Code: [Select]
Uncaught TypeError: i.a.sendSocket is not a function
    Lodash 3

One person suggested bugs with slow download of resources but I'm on gigabit fibre.  An x86 laptop on the same fibre connection does not give the problem.  This issue could be a red herring.

Both laptop and Talos II are running Firefox 78.7 ESR

One difference I notice: the Talos II always shows the captcha, the laptop always bypasses the captcha

Does anybody have any insights into this or workarounds?

Will a newer Firefox build fix it?

I built a backport of the latest version of Jami for various architectures including ppc64le.  This is one of several ways to do chat and VoIP with no central server, more details on the official web site

These are distributed through the Debify repository

If you didn't use Debify already, you can add the repository with this command:

Code: [Select]
$ wget -O - | bash

and then you can get the latest Jami with:

Code: [Select]
sudo apt update
sudo apt install -t debify-buster-backports jami

and then launch it with this command:

Code: [Select]
$ jami-gnone

I had some communication with the Blender and ffmpeg developers about issues with transparency

For example, the preview panel in Blender was corrupted and some input images or videos were corrupted in OBS

The root cause was in ffmpeg, it is fixed here.  The issue is also tracked in Blender.

I produced an updated version of my Debian backport of ffmpeg 4.3.1, it now includes both the POWER9 optimizations and the fix for this particular issue.  The version with the fix is ffmpeg_4.3.1-5~bpo10+2

If you already used packages from then you can simply do

Code: [Select]
apt install -t debify-buster-backports ffmpeg

If you did not already use it, you need to add the apt source before installing/upgrading your ffmpeg:

Code: [Select]
$ wget -O - | bash
apt install -t debify-buster-backports ffmpeg

We had some discussions in fedora-devel about changing the default page size from 64k back to 4k

This could be done for Fedora 34 - I opened a change request under Fedora policy

How do people feel about this?

Does anybody want to take ownership of the Fedora change request?

Technically, only one line of code needs to change but there is some coordination to make sure everything in userland is rebuilt and to do some tests of the installer as a bare minimum.

Code: [Select]

I might be willing to take ownership of the change personally but if somebody else wants to take ownership, that will free up some of my time for other things.

It is also important to verify that other users are comfortable with this strategy: please feel free to comment through the Fedora mailing list.

As promised, the packaged version of the kernel is now available for people who want to test the 4k page size.  There is another thread tracking problems related to the 64k page size, in other words, reasons you might want to try the kernel here with 4k

Debian kernel packaging tools allow me to build multiple flavours of the kernel as separate packages and you can install all of them concurrently.  Therefore, you can install the default kernel with 64k page size and also the kernel with 4k page size at the same time.  When you boot, the grub menu will let you choose between these different kernels.

If you didn't already use any of the packages from the Debify repository then you need to enable the repository with this command:

Code: [Select]
$ wget -O - | bash

After enabling the repository, you can get the new kernel with these two apt commands:

Code: [Select]
$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install -t debify-buster-backports linux-image-powerpc64le-4k
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following additional packages will be installed:
Suggested packages:
  linux-doc-5.9 debian-kernel-handbook mkvmlinuz
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  linux-image-5.9.0-0.bpo.2-powerpc64le-4k linux-image-powerpc64le-4k
0 upgraded, 2 newly installed, 0 to remove and 10 not upgraded.
Need to get 40.3 MB of archives.
After this operation, 240 MB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue? [Y/n]

Please share any feedback about using the package

General OpenPOWER Discussion / risks associated with Xorg / Wayland
« on: December 29, 2020, 11:08:08 am »
There is regular noise about Linux distributions being on the cusp of abandoning Xorg, e.g. the recent Phoronix article about Xorg being abandonware, which generated many blogs and comments on various platforms.

Talos II and Blackbird users have commented that Wayland isn't working for us.  I personally use Xorg right now, I have this in my /etc/gdm3/daemon.conf

Code: [Select]
# Uncomment the line below to force the login screen to use Xorg

Has anybody investigated the Wayland issues on this architecture in any depth?

I don't see any distribution dropping Xorg in the next 12 months but as these machines have a long lifespan, if Xorg is dropped in 2 or 3 years from now then it will be an inconvenience for this platform.

Applications and Porting / OBS 26.1.0 packages available
« on: December 29, 2020, 08:21:22 am »

This is now available for anybody else to try, I backported the latest version, 26.1.0

As described in the thread about Domoticz, backports like this are published in the Debify repository.  Before you can install them with apt, you need to run this command once to enable the repository and authentication key:

Code: [Select]
$ wget -O - | bash

After you have added the Debify repository and key, you can install OBS with this command (if you are using Debian 10 / buster):

Code: [Select]
sudo apt update
sudo apt install -t debify-buster-backports obs-studio

This OBS has been built using the updated ffmpeg packages that are also distributed through the same repository so you may get some performance benefits and extra features not available in the standard ffmpeg on Debian 10.

Applications and Porting / trying the ffmpeg POWER9 optimization patch
« on: December 29, 2020, 08:17:39 am »

I've prepared a Debian package of ffmpeg compiled with this patch for performance.  This is ffmpeg 4.3.1, it is newer than the standard version in Debian 10 / buster.

As described in the thread about Domoticz, backports like this are published in the Debify repository.  Before you can install them with apt, you need to run this command once to enable the repository and authentication key:

Code: [Select]
$ wget -O - | bash

After you have added the Debify repository and key, you can install / upgrade your ffmpeg with this command (if you are using Debian 10 / buster):

Code: [Select]
sudo apt update
sudo apt install -t debify-buster-backports ffmpeg

Please give feedback through the ffmpeg bug tracker issue if you have any problems with this patch.


The Debify repository has been updated to include builds for ppc64el and arm64

After adding ppc64el, the first packages I built in there are the Domoticz packages, these are the installation instructions

You can order the Zigate USB stick directly from this web site.  I plugged one into the USB 3 port of the Talos II and it worked fine.

I've tested the Domoticz and Zigate together with a range of products, including:

  • bulbs: Philips Hue, Osram, Mueller Licht (Aldi), Livarno Lux (Lidl)
  • temperature sensors: Aqara
  • smart sockets (both plug pack versions and inline)
  • dimmer buttons / remotes: Aqara, Philips Hue
  • motion sensors: Osram

I'm planning to buy some of the Ikea products this week and test them too, there is already feedback in the Domoticz forum thread on Ikea.  The Ikea products are interesting because they are incredibly cheap and you can buy them locally, the Aqara products from China sometimes take 2-3 weeks to arrive.

For any concerns with the packages, please ask in this Domoticz forum thread on Debian packages unless it is an issue that is very specific to the Talos II.

Here is a short video where I demonstrate how to flash the Zigate stick and link each of the devices to it.  Although there are not many similarities, try to imagine the Talos II in place of the Raspberry Pi in the video.


I've noticed that some applications, including mpv and OBS Studio, are intermittently crashing with an assertion from PulseAudio

If you run applications from a terminal window then you will probably see the assertion text in the window when the application crashes.  If you are running any applications from the menu or launcher and they are crashing unexpectedly then it is a good idea to try running them from the console to observe stdout and stderr.  You can also use journalctl to search for assertions like this.

Here is the error:

Code: [Select]
Assertion 're->data || re->memblock' failed at pulsecore/pstream.c:862, function do_read(). Aborting.

I opened bug report #1060 in the PulseAudio bug tracker.

Searching for this assertion in the search engines I found people have similar problems on ARM64.  I haven't seen it on x86.

Applications and Porting / Firefox 78 / WebRTC regression
« on: November 14, 2020, 01:15:56 pm »

As noted elsewhere in the forum, WebRTC was working for me using Firefox 68 on Debian with the custom kernel compiled for a 4k page size.

I recently updated to Firefox 78 (provided as a security update on Debian) and this included a regression, the WebRTC incoming picture is not displayed any more.  Incoming audio is fine and outgoing picture is fine.

Do people see similar problems on other operating systems and/or Firefox versions?

It is in the Mozilla bug tracker, please add any comments there as that is what the Mozilla developers will look at.

General OpenPOWER Discussion / critical mass of developers
« on: November 07, 2020, 03:58:56 am »
Looking at my recent experiences with some packages such as Thunderbird sqlite, Gimp (linker), OBS Studio (can't remember what I tweaked but it builds a package now) and even making my own kernel and installer ISO with 4K page size, none of these things were too hard to resolve or work around but on the other hand, it becomes tedious if a developer encounters stuff like that every day.

With Thunderbird specifically, unless it is fixed upstream, I have to spend some time adapting my patch to each new version of the package.  It is not hard work, it may only take 30 minutes but it is tedious and takes energy away from new development.

Hopefully when Vikings make their products available in Europe, some more developers will decide to try the platform for their next workstation and this will distribute the burden more widely.

It is important to have some reach into other ecosystems, for example, if there were two or three developers in each big upstream community like Mozilla, GNOME and KDE/Qt using this platform, they would notice any issues much more quickly and issues would be fixed centrally, before anybody tries to release or package new versions of those products.  Does anybody already know about interest in any of those communities?

For OS level development it can be really useful for developers to have multiple workstations, for example, one as a stable workstation and a second machine that we can reboot multiple times per day to test kernels and hardware.  Only having one machine right now, I tend to avoid testing anything that might require a reboot because I don't want to close and re-open all the different applications that I'm using.

If anybody has any old hardware that they wanted to donate to developers or if anybody knows of any funding to subsidize hardware for developers in different projects that could help the platform gain critical mass.  As with Metcalfe's law in telecoms, each extra developer adds more value than their personal contribution.  Any other ideas would be welcome too.

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